Demographic Changes And The Globalisation Of Ageing

The need for mental health-care professionals to receive specialist training in working with older people in order to provide effective psychological treatments for late-life depression will become increasingly important in the light of demographic changes currently taking place globally. From recent statistics (UN, 2001), it is estimated that the world's older adult population will show a threefold increase over the next 50 years, from 606 million people today to 2 billion in 2050. As people live longer, it is the oldest old section of society (people aged over 80 years) that will show the most dramatic increase, with an almost fivefold increase from 69 million in 2000 to 379 million older people in 2050.

Mood Disorders: A Handbook of Science and Practice. Edited by M. Power. © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ISBN 0-470-84390-X.

The ageing index and dependency ratios are important indicators of how developed and developing societies are ageing. The ageing index is calculated by comparing the number of people aged 65 years and over per 100 young people aged 15 years and younger. In the year 2000 in the UK, the ageing index was 82, meaning that, for every 100 youths, there were 82 people aged 65 years and above living in the UK. This index is set to rise to 152 by the year 2030. In the USA, the ageing index is currently 59, and by the year 2030 it is set to rise to 102. By the year 2030, Italy, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece and Japan will all have age indices above 200, meaning that there will be two older people for every one young person in these societies (Kinsella & Velkoff, 2001). The dependency ratio is calculated by dividing the total population over the age of 60, of retirement age, by the total population aged 15-60, of working age. In 2002 in North America, the dependency ratio was 0.26, and for the countries of the European Union, the ratio was 0.36. In 2025, it is estimated that the ratio will rise to 0.44 in the US and to 0.56 in Europe (World Health Organisation [WHO], 2002).

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